Quantin Kral (IoA Cambridge)
Thursday December 17th - 11am
IPAG Seminar Room - IPAG
A non negligible quantity of gas has been discovered in an increasing number of debris disc systems. ALMA high sensitivity and high resolution is changing our perception of the gaseous component of debris discs as CO is discovered in systems where it should be rapidly photodissociated. It implies that there is a replenishment mechanism and that the observed gas is secondary. Past missions such as Herschel probed the atomic part of the gas through O I and C II emission lines. Gas science in debris discs is still in its infancy, and these new observations raise a handful of questions concerning the mechanisms to create the gas and about its evolution in the planetary system when it is released. The latter question will be addressed in this talk as a self-consistent gas evolution scenario is proposed and is compared to observations for the peculiar case of β Pictoris.
Our model proposes that carbon and oxygen within debris discs are created due to photodissociation of CO which is itself created from the debris disc dust (due to grain-grain collisions or photodesorption). The evolution of the carbon atoms is modelled as viscous spreading, with viscosity parameterised using an α model. The temperature, ionisation fraction and population levels of carbon are followed with a PDR model called Cloudy, which is coupled to the dynamical viscous α model. Only carbon gets ionised due to its lower ionisation potential than oxygen. The carbon gas disc can end up with a high ionisation fraction due to strong FUV radiation field. A high ionisation fraction means that the magnetorotational instability (MRI) is very active, so that α is very high. Gas density profiles can be worked out for different input parameters such as the α value, the CO input rate, the location of the input and the incoming radiation field. Observability predictions can be made for future observations, and our model is tested on β Pictoris observations. This new gas evolution model fits the carbon and CO observations in β Pic and gives a self-consistent scenario that might be at play in all debris discs...
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